Skip to comments.The Questions That Won't Go Away For Condi Rice
Posted on 10/23/2005 5:55:49 PM PDT by blam
The questions that won't go away for Condi Rice
By Alec Russell in Birmingham, Alabama
Condoleezza Rice, the ultra-poised American secretary of state, has persistently said that she has no intention of running for the White House and that she expects people to believe her.
All weekend, as she roamed her home state of Alabama with her guest Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, she fended off questions about her future.
When a girl asked the question on a visit to her old school she looked weary before flashing her famous smile and saying: "I don't want to run for office but that doesn't mean some of you can't."
She tells friends that to run for the presidency you need to "want it" and that she does not want it.
Yet still the question remains and her denials are not convincing enough to rule out the possibility that she may yet seek the ultimate political double of becoming America's first black and first woman president.
The murmur of grassroots support for her is ever present, while with President George W Bush in some difficulties, attention in Washington is shifting to his successor, and the Republicans have no obvious candidate.
To a casual eye her three-day visit, which focused on her home town, Birmingham, had more in common with the exploratory trips of a prospective politician than the routine of the world's most powerful diplomat.
Two things were abundantly clear: she would be brilliant at "retail politics" and her personal "narrative" is an image-maker's dream.
At a dress-down dinner on Saturday at Jim N' Nicks, a typical southern barbecue joint, she chatted animatedly, exuding the charm that has helped to rescue American diplomacy from the doldrums of Mr Bush's first term. The menu favourites, catfish and pulled pork, were hardly the standard fare of the Washington elite. With many politicians, the meal would have been terribly staged.
But Miss Rice is not your average politician. She is a technocrat rather than a politician, having, as she reminded her audiences, unlike Mr Straw, never run for office.
American officials described the trip as the model for a new form of public diplomacy and said that other foreign ministers would tour the US with Miss Rice. One said: "The trips will all have their unique character. This is intended to help to show a different side of America."
For Mr Straw's aides it was the chance for him to have extended "face time" with Miss Rice. It was also possibly the most unusual tour of his tenure.
Both ministers were genuinely moved as relatives of four girls murdered by a white extremist bomb at Birmingham's 16th Baptist Church in September 1963 recalled the event.
One of the dead, Denise McNair, was a friend of Miss Rice.
"We played with dolls together," Miss Rice said. "As God would have it, they were at Sunday school when America experienced home grown terrorism of the worst sort. Sometimes when I think of them I wonder what they would be doing today."
Her personal link was clearly a bona fide reason for her presence. But what is less clear is why she devoted three days to the trip when she has one of the world's busiest timetables. Since taking up her post in January she has logged far more miles than any of her predecessors.
Also, it is very unusual for a secretary of state to devote so much time to a domestic trip. Her predecessors tended to travel in the US only to deliver foreign policy speeches.
Yet over this weekend she has discussed technology at the University of Alabama to show how the South was trying to shed its backward reputation, chatted with schoolchildren and presided over the pre-game toss of the coin at a game of American football, her favourite sport.
At each event she was treated like a rock star. She would clearly be a "natural" at stump politics. Friends suggest however that the experience of Colin Powell, her predecessor, who considered running in the mid-Nineties, is not lost on her. Under pressure from his wife, who feared the relentless media spotlight, he decided against it.
She has said that America is ready for a woman president. Arthur Price, the pastor of the 16th St Baptist Church, however, has some sober advice. He said that she would be a strong candidate but that America was not ready for a black leader.
"She is a symbol of what can be," he said. "I think America has come a long way. It is ready for a black candidate and will one day be ready for a black president - but not yet."
Hi Bill, nice read thanks
Who decided we needed a woman president in 2006? The media seems to believe it's a give.
I hava a question for Condi:
Why did you claim that the administration had no idea before 9-11 plane might be used by terrorists on high value targets in the USA?
The federal government was fully briefed on project bjoinka, the first world trade bomber's (youseff - al qaeda, philipines) plot to crash planes into buildings in DC. Was it not?
First, will you marry me?
Second, are you an evangelical in your support for Israel.
Third, do you think that Allah of Islam is the same person as the God of Jews and Israel...and the Christians.
I think I have my question in reverse order of importance...but it is Condi we are talking about!
Where do I vote?
She's a smart woman. Of course she does not believe that allah is "God". Heck, the muzzies even know that because they would be the first to say Rice is an unbeliever. That point being the most important. When the muzzies say others are nonbelivers they declare themselves that allah is not the God "of the jews and Israel...and the Christians".
I have been pretty disapointed by Republicans these last few years, particularly with Meirs and with immigration. But there are other issues as well.
A Condoleeza Rice candidacy is about the only thing the Republicans could do to get me interested in them again.
Vote? Not only would I vote for her, but I would campaign and contribute again as well.
Condi may be the only one who could both defeat Hillary and re-energize conservatives and republicans.
The Hildabeaste (D) for President
McPain (I) for President
And the winner is?